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LJWorld.com weblogs Congressional Briefing

Brownback: No legal fees to challenge religion in public square

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Sam Brownback[(Catholic PRWire) Religious Symbol Abuse:][1] The nation's largest veterans organization today called on the U.S. Senate to pass the "Veterans' Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006." ... The Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), would amend all federal laws with fee-shifting provisions, including the Civil Rights Attorney Fees Act, 42 U.S. Code 1988 and the Equal Access to Justice Act. It would eliminate the authority of judges to award taxpayer-paid attorney fees to the ACLU, or other organizations, in lawsuits brought under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution against veterans memorials, the Boy Scouts, or the public display of the Ten Commandments or other symbols of American history and religious heritage. [Brownback's press release on the issue][2][(New England Journal of Medicine) Access before Approval - A Right to Take Experimental Drugs?][3] A surprising court decision this past May has advanced an effort to allow terminally ill people to purchase experimental drugs after initial safety testing but before they have been shown to work. ... The Abigail Alliance's lawsuit is one component of its campaign to radically change this system. The organization's legislative proposal can be found in the ACCESS Act, a bill introduced this past November by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kans.). Under the proposal, a drug could obtain tier 1 approval on the basis of phase 1 testing and preclinical evidence - from testing in animals, case histories, pharmacologic studies, or computer modeling - that it "may be effective against a life-threatening condition." A drug with tier 1 approval could be marketed for seriously ill patients who had exhausted other treatment options, if they waived the right to sue the manufacturer and permitted collection of their clinical data. ... The bill has alarmed the clinical research community and large health-advocacy groups. Only 11 percent of drugs - and only 6 percent of cancer drugs - that enter clinical testing are ultimately approved; the rest either prove to be too toxic or do not work.Pat Roberts[(KC Star) Legislation is aimed at workers who leak to press:][4] Republican Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri introduced legislation Wednesday that would make it easier to prosecute government workers who make unauthorized leaks to the press. The bill would eliminate the need for prosecutors to show that a leak damaged national security. Instead, they would have to show only that a government employee or contractor with access to classified information "knowingly and willfully" leaked it to those not authorized to receive it. ... Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican and chairman of the intelligence committee, supports the legislation, a spokeswoman said.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][5] [1]: http://www.catholic.org/prwire/headline.php?ID=2082 [2]: http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=260811 [3]: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/5/437 [4]: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/nation/15188038.htm [5]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

Comments

BrianR 8 years, 4 months ago

HGA, I don't see this as specifically a left/right issue -- free speech is threatened in some way by all political persuasions.

This is a freedom worth killing or dying for.

erichaar 8 years, 4 months ago

What else would you expect from the ACLU? They're disgusting.

The ACLU is the same group that defends NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association.

MyName 8 years, 4 months ago

holygrailale:

Not to nitpick or anything, but I think Voltaire said it first. But I agree with you: too many people forget what they learned in grade school about this stuff.

GOPConservative 8 years, 4 months ago

Oh, great, now Brownback wants to create laws that would treat different groups differently under the law. After borrowing a trillion dollars from his commie, atheist buddies in China to pay for his fiscal liberalism, Brownback is now starting to sound like a commie.

BrianR 8 years, 4 months ago

WACKO SPIN. The ACLU also defends religious liberty while not advocating one religion over another. Defending liberty, what a bunch of bastards. The ACLU does NOT support sexual relationships between adults and children-that case was a speech issue, idiot.

Eric, if you want to do something positive for your country, leave.

GOPConservative 8 years, 4 months ago

I used to respect Pat Roberts. Now, he wants to make it impossible for government employees to let the public know when their tax money is being wasted or when crimes have been committed, and God knows how much waste and criminal activity there is at the Federal level.

Brownback, Roberts, Ryun and the other representative from Kansas have been borrowing hundreds of billions each year from the commies to piss away through fiscal liberalism. They love to borrow money in our names and give away to tax-sucking monopolies and other crooks simply because these tax-suckers put them in office,

Now, they want to seal the lips of conscientious government workers who expose fraud, waste, crime and violations of our Constitution.

Since they are selling us out to the commies anyway, Roberts, Brownback, Ryun and the other fiscal liberals who represent us ought to move to China to work in an system that matches their totalitarian views of government. With their kind out of the picture, America can get back to the principles that made us great.

fletch 8 years, 4 months ago

Freedom of speech and freedom of religion means sometimes you have to put up with speech and religion you don't like. Sorry. The ACLU takes the unpopular cases nobody else will because they recognize that you can't restrict liberty to popular opinion.

ronwell_dobbs 8 years, 4 months ago

I have a simple litmus test for any politician:

If said politician ever utters the phrase "all we need to do is...", then that person is nothing more than a partisan hack, imbecile, or a dangerous demagogue.

Our problems in this country are complex. It seems like any politician in this political climate that tries to make that point is painted as a "Washington insider" or power broker is beyond me. I stray far afield from conservative approaches to anything, but I actually did like the attitude that Bob Dole brought to legislating. He realized that tiny steps forward were so much more important than making the rounds of the talk shows and being defined as a one-issue candidate.

Perhaps it's not too late for us to return to this type of approach to politics.

Jamesaust 8 years, 4 months ago

Hey, people are missing the point here. This isn't about the ACLU. Rather, this is an attack on the judgment of federal judges and is part of a large scheme adopted by radicals in recent years to demonize the judiciary.

Such fees have been recoverable against governments for civil rights cases precisely because government by its size, power and resources often discourages individuals from filing suit against it. Also, government is not a typical defendant, uncertain of the law and in need of particular expertise to defend against claims - government reguarly maintains its own legal counsel anyway. There really is no excuse for a government entity to lose more than a minimal number of these cases given often clear precedential law unless the are refusing for invalid (probably political) reasons to comply. Such federal losing party fee rules have been adopted precisely as a means of encouraging settlement and discouraging litigation.

In other words, this is one more rock in the stones being cast at the judical branch due to its insistence on independence and its refusal to "get a clue" and bend the Constitution to the dictates of extremists like Brownback.

The basic consequence of such a plan would be to allow governments to "thumb their nose" at challenges to their actions, with the Establishment Clause being applied only so far as the ACLU or others are willing and able to pay for litigating matters government entity by government entity - and no farther. More litigation, not less, will be the result.

BrianR 8 years, 4 months ago

J, Didn't miss the point just stating an opinion not writing a paper. I wish I had that kind of time.

However you are absolutely correct, the R has been after the judiciary for quite a while; the J stands in the way of their coup.

b

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